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Naomi Wolf to Present “Public Intellectual” Workshops


Naomi Wolf returns to the College of Arts and Sciences this semester to present “The Public Intellectual” workshops, designed to enable students and faculty to articulate their expertise when in public settings. These workshops reprise the first Public Intellectual series, adding more hands-on coaching and writing in-session.

Visiting Lecturer Naomi Wolf conducts a workshop on the role of the public intellectual.

Through an invitation from Dr. Sacha Kopp, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Wolf first came to the Stony Brook campus in 2015, beginning an experiment in educating academics on how to communicate in such a way that their research can inform a broad audience — but without “dumbing down” their arguments. The collaboration was featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education in February 2016.

This experiment aligned with the work of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, through which Stony Brook University seeks to enhance public understanding of science. Continuing the support of this public understanding, Dean Kopp invited Dr. Wolf back to the College to present the second series of workshops through the Humanities Institute. The Humanities Institute promotes interdisciplinary research and collaboration across the university through workshops such as “The Public Intellectual” series, as well as conferences, lectures, seminars, exhibitions, film series and performances.

“I feel deeply that every single person should have the right to speak to a broad audience, as it only makes society better,” says Dr. Wolf. “Stony Brook University is the perfect platform for this message, as it’s our shared mission to empower diverse people to influence the world.”

The series continues on Tuesday, March 28 with “The Op-ed,” during which Dr. Wolf will assist attendees in writing a structured thought piece of 800-1200 words. Attendees are encouraged to bring a notebook, writing instrument, and any drafts and ideas they wish to explore in this session. Come ready to write!

Workshop details:

Tuesday, March 28
Humanities 2001 · 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Master the art of making your case in 800-1200 words, and explore the fundamentals of placement.

Tuesday, April 18
Humanities 1008 · 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Hands-on coaching in how to share your research, mission or vision in a compelling, dynamic way with live, non-academic audiences, and how to interactively engage with audience members.

Videos of the first two sessions are also available.

In this introductory workshop, Dr. Wolf reprises her views on why everyone deserves to be an eloquent, highly trained public intellectual, especially critical for academics. Through live coaching, Sociology major Eric Margolis ’17 learns how to change his inflections to achieve a greater impact and better understanding of his message.

This workshop provided tips on how to identify your core message and communicate it in any context. PhD candidates Aida Nikou, Political Psychology, and Kathryn Silverstein, Cultural Studies, receive hands on coaching and find their assertive voice almost instantly.

This series is presented by the Humanities Institute and the Dean’s Office, College of Arts and Sciences. All are welcome to attend. No registration is required, but you may reserve a space here. Refreshments will be served after each session.

Dr. Wolf is the author of eight New York Times nonfiction bestsellers, including The Beauty Myth, called “one of the most important books of the 20th century.” Her journalism has appeared in numerous major news outlets, including the Washington PostThe New Republic and the Wall Street Journal. A Rhodes Scholar, she recently received a doctorate from the University of Oxford in English literature.

–Rachel Rodriguez

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